Guitar performance exams have, for a long time, been quite unpleasant.
The problem is that all the education boards that offered guitar exams only offered classical.
Guitar in schools has almost always been exclusively classical because it’s easier to track a students progress and it fits in quite well with the curriculum.
(If you require classical lessons, email me and i’ll suggest a couple of great teachers.)
This is great if you like classical guitar but not fun at all if you don’t. I love listening to classical guitar and watching it but i’ve never had a desire to be a classical guitarist, it’s just not my thing.
I’m sure it would be equally troubling for a classical guitar enthusiast to have to learn to play heavy metal in order to sit an exam.
The skill set required to play classical and popular guitar (acoustic, blues, rock, pop, country, metal etc..) are very different but students have never really been given the choice in school.
If you had guitar lessons in school they were probably classical.
Then along came Rock School.
The Rock School grading system means that students can get graded and sit exams in the same way that classical musicians do but playing more engaging, modern pieces on drums, bass and electric guitar.
This has been a revelation for teaching and GCSE performances as now there is an academic path for the electric guitarist to follow which previously did not exist.
I’m a great fan of the Rock School curriculum for this very reason and when it is taught in conjunction with ear training, theory and improvisation it can provide a really good foundation for the budding guitarist.